The idea is to catch the flight to Kota Baru and get the morning boat from Kuala Besut to the resort on Perhentian Besar. From Kota Baru Airport onwards it was all organised with Tuna Bay Resort.
The flight is scheduled to leave at 0700, arrive at 0755 at Kota Baru.
The taxi should take about an hour to take us from the airport to the resort office near the ferry terminal at Kuala Besut. Thus we should arrive around 9:15AM
And the boat for the island is scheduled to leave at 10:30, and take 45 minutes – it’s a launch rather than a speedboat, so slower, but much more comfortable.
So that’s the plan. And it pretty much goes according to that plan.
We get to Penang Airport, having already checked in online. Baggage Drop and check in line is the same, so you have to wait. Hmm, was it worth bothering to check in online? So this takes about 10 minutes. It’s quick through security to the domestic terminal. Yay, Starbucks is open at this hour – but there is only a branch in the domestic terminal. Not at the International.
Departure on FY 1002 was from Gate B2, so once your boarding pass and ID are checked you go downstairs to the lounge. But the door to outside is open and plane engines are running, so it is very noisy. You can hardly hear someone speak. We wait until we can board at 0655, and depart about 0702.
The plane is small – two seats, aisle and two seats, and the flight wasn’t full.
Just after take-off there is a good view from the right hand side of the aircraft of the new Penang Bridge.
In-flight catering is a choice of a small packet of peanuts or a muffin, and a choice of orange cordial or soy drink.
When the pilot made his announcement it was not loud enough to hear over the noise of the engines. But the flight attendant’s announcement was comprehensible. She basically said hello and goodbye in the one announcement.
Arrival was on time at 0755. The pilot emerged from the cockpit just before we disembarked – a friendly Australian. Outside the air was fresh and cool – nicer than Penang at that hour.
KBR airport is small. In the arrivals area there are no toilets – so you have to wait until you have collected your luggage and gone out to landside. But it was only a five-minute wait for the luggage.
By 8.10AM we were loading our luggage in the taxi. The airport seems to be surrounded by kampongs.
For much of the drive the air is smokey – somewhere they are burning.
We arrive at the resort office at 9.02.
At the office we fill out a form, and leave our luggage.
We need to be back about 10.20 to go to the nearby jetty.
There are places to eat at the jetty, but we go to the bus terminal square and eat at the Lucky Seafood Restaurant.
On the east coast of Malaysia it can be hard to get alcohol, but I noticed that this restaurant sells beer. Good for future reference. But no, I didn’t have beer for breakfast.
Back at the office around 10.15 we wait for a bit, and just before 10.30 make the two-minute walk with around another 10 passengers to the jetty. Our luggage is transported by staff.
At the jetty we pay a RM5 Marine park Conservation tax, and then board the launch.
It departed at 10.35 for a smooth crossing…
and we disembarked around 11.27.
So this is what you can expect. For us all went smoothly and easily. Our luggage was delivered to our room.
There are two Perhentian Islands – Perhentian Besar (the big island), which we went to this time, and Perhentian Kecil (the smaller island). Perhentian Kecil has more budget accommodation and more eating establishments.
Google tells me that if I drive to Kuala Besut this will take 5 ½ hours. Because it is too dangerous to drive while dark, the earliest I could leave home would be about 6.30. So perhaps a night on the east coast, and then a boat the next morning, or a later boat to the islands, as arrival would be about 12.00.
Returning one could take the 8AM boat to the mainland and comfortably drive home during daylight hours.
Another alternative is a bus to Kuala Besut, but these travel at night, and I think this is too dangerous.
So good marks to Tuna Bay Resort for their travel and transfer arrangements.